Re: Santa Claus -- Do you allow your children to believe in him?
Of course! My son is getting ready to celebrate his first Christmas and I can't WAIT until he's old enough to "believe" in Santa. I figured out that Santa wasn't real at a pretty young age but my parents and I still kept on pretending.
I wasn't crushed and most kids aren't. My mom explained it really well, she said Santa Claus was a story to teach us about giving and love. It was sweet.
It's also a little different in my family because my husband and I are both secular humanists, for us Christmas is a cultural holiday, not a religious one. We try to use Christmas to remind us to love others and to take care of those who are less fortunate... we're following in my parents footsteps, we do lots of charity work for Christmas (and the rest of the year). My parents taught me that "playing Santa" was a far, far greater joy than "receiving" things from Santa. We're going to donate money in our son's name to various childrens charities. When he gets old enough we'll do what my parents did... my son will choose a charity and earn money or goods for it... and my husband and I will match whatever he is able to raise for the charity. I always did Toys for Tots as a kid, I would raise money with bake sales, picking up pine cones etc. and my parents would match it. Then my father and mother would take me to the store to buy toys for the charity. That was my favorite part of Christmas, even more than getting presents.
And as far as "lying" to my kid, I don't want to insult/offend anyone, but lets be honest, Christmas is based on layers and layers of cultural adaptations and absorptions. Most historians agree that the person Jesus Christ was NOT born in December, but rather in the spring. Early Christians adapted pagan winter solstice holidays into a Christian holiday. The majority of our Christmas symbols are actually pagan in origin (Christmas tree, wreaths, yule logs etc). So Christmas can be different things to different people. Does the fact that Christians adapted a pagan holiday make Christmas any less special or meaningful to Christians? No. So the point is everyone finds their own meanings/values etc. in the holiday.
Each family celebrates in the way that is right and meaningful for them and I think it's insulting to imply that parents are "lying" to their kids, the connotation is very negative for a reality that is really quite sweet and magical.
Married to David the love muffin, humanist mother to Captain Tiny, 3/08, school teacher extraordinaire. "Teacher, can we give you the clap and cheer?"
Last edited by kettle; 12-05-2008 at 02:56 AM.